How To Reduce Risk of Infection While Using Public Transport

Read the BM version of this article here

Like sardines in a tin. Standing space only and barely any left. Toes being stepped on (or rolled over by trolley bags). Body odour from a hundred different persons permeating the air. But that was the public transport of the past. Trains and buses were eerily empty during the quarantine. Now as here in Malaysia and some other parts of the world are recovering, commuters are slowly returning to public transport, albeit warily. For all we know, the person in the same train coach with us could be a “silent spreader” of COVID-19. So, what can we do to reduce the risk of contracting the virus if we have to use public transport?



While the local authorities where you are may or may not enforce social distancing in public transport vehicles, don’t try to squeeze your way into the train/bus even though you might be late. Let the passengers alight before you try to board and maintain a distance of at least a meter from one another.


This is where many people fail. Whether it’s a reusable or medical mask, it should comprise three layers: a water-resistant outer layer, a middle filter and an absorbent inner layer. And then you’d have to know which side is which, and cover your nose and mouth correctly. This expert from WHO explains it best (and most passionately):



Perhaps this is hard to abide by, but try not to lean against the wall or pole. If you have no choice but to use the grab handles and poles to steady yourself, avoid touching your face, nose or eyes until you can sanitize your hands.



While this rule applies even pre-pandemic, it’s a rule that is often ignored. But there are worse consequences than dirtying the vehicle if you eat or drink in transit. Well, firstly, you can’t keep your mask on (see Tip #2 above), can you? And secondly, you can’t be sure that your hands and immediate surrounding are virus-free, so you might very well be scooping germs straight into your piehole.

And definitely, don’t. do. this:

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